December 6th 2019. At the Global Sustainable Tourism Council Conference, the Global Destination Sustainability Index (GDS-Index) and EarthCheck sign an alliance to develop and launch specialised certification and services for business tourism, event and meeting cities.

The key goal of the alliance is to help cities, regions and countries to improve the environmental, social and economic performance of their visitor economy, and become more sustainable and healthy places to visit, meet in and live in.

The partners will launch GDS-Certify, a third party sustainability certification for business tourism, events and meeting cities that will be delivered by EarthCheck science and software systems, and underpinned by the GSTC (Global Sustainable Tourism Council) Destination Criteria. GDS-Certify is applicable for urban destinations that are starting their sustainability journey, and for those who, as market leaders, want to push the boundaries of sustainability performance.

Guy Bigwood, Co-founder and Managing Director for the GDS-Index, comments

“Increasingly Destination Management and Marketing Organisations (DMOs) are championing sustainability and the use of eco-certification within their communities of event organisers, hotels, venues and restaurants. However only 16% of the GDS-Index DMOs have a destination certification. Our goal is to simplify and accelerate the journey from benchmarking to certification for destination management organisations, and then use certification to drive sustainability performance.”

Stewart Moore the Founder and CEO of EarthCheck comments

“In addition to certification, we will collaborate to research, develop and provide high value services to help cities, regions, countries, and their value chains to measure and report on the social, environmental and economic impact of their visitor economy.”

Unlike other standards and rankings the GDS-Index was specifically created for the events and meetings industry and urban destinations. Initiated in 2015 by fifteen visionary Scandinavian Cities, the GDS-Index is a partnership between MCI, European Cities Marketing, IMEX, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA)and GUBI Consulting. Currently the GDS-Index is working with over 60 destinations, key industry associations and clients to catalyse a regenerative movement in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.

EarthCheck’s deep science and patented methodology and software platform was created for the world’s travel and tourism industry by the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Tourism (STCRC) over a 10 year period. The STCRC grew to be the largest dedicated tourism research organisation in the world. Today, EarthCheck continues its thirty year journey to support the development of a dynamic, internationally competitive, and sustainable tourism industry. In consultation with a broad cross section of stakeholders, EarthCheck identifies opportunities and challenges that are likely to impact on the global tourism industry over the next five to ten years with a strong focus on scientific research, thought leadership and the development of tools and products to improve business practices and inform policy development.